Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Finding the Lowest Numbers.

Finding the Lowest Numbers

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 7, 2017)

You may have a need at some point to find the lowest numbers in a list of values. This is relatively easy to do if you use the SMALL worksheet function. The function takes two parameters: the range of the values to be evaluated and an indicator of which smallest number you want. For instance, the following will return the second lowest number in the range of A1:A100:


If you wanted to know the two lowest numbers in the range, then use two formulas containing the SMALL function—one with 1 as the second parameter (for the lowest number) and one with 2 as the second parameter (for the second lowest number).

There are situations, of course, where the two smallest numbers in the range could actually be the same number. For instance, if the lowest number is 3 and there is a second 3 in the list, then both the lowest numbers will be the same. If you want the two lowest unique numbers then you will need to use a macro to determine them.

Function SMALLn(rng As Range, n)
    SMALLn = False
    If n < 1 Then Exit Function
    Dim i As Long, j As Long, k As Long, min, arr, arr2
    arr = Application.Transpose(rng)
    ReDim arr2(n - 1)
    min = Application.WorksheetFunction.Min(arr)
    j = UBound(arr)
    k = 0
    arr2(k) = min
    For i = 1 To j
        If Application.Small(arr, i) <> arr2(k) Then
            k = k + 1
            arr2(k) = Application.Small(arr, i)
            If k = n - 1 Then
                SMALLn = arr2(k)
                Exit For
            End If
        End If
    Next i
End Function

This user-defined function is used in the following manner:


When called like this, the function returns the second lowest unique value in the specified range.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3420) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Finding the Lowest Numbers.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


Working with Other People's Files

When you get files from other people, you may want a quick way to apply your formatting to their text. Provided that the ...

Discover More

X-ing Out Text

You can easily use strikethrough formatting to show deleted text in a document. What if you want to actually overprint ...

Discover More

Applying Table Formats

Want to make short work of formatting a large data table? You can use the AutoFormat feature of Excel to apply all sorts ...

Discover More

Program Successfully in Excel! John Walkenbach's name is synonymous with excellence in deciphering complex technical topics. With this comprehensive guide, "Mr. Spreadsheet" shows how to maximize your Excel experience using professional spreadsheet application development tips from his own personal bookshelf. Check out Excel 2013 Power Programming with VBA today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Counting with Formulas

When you need to count a number of cells based upon a single criteria, the standard function to use is COUNTIF. This tip ...

Discover More

Cell and Name References in COUNTIF

The second parameter of the COUNTIF function is used to specify the criteria to be used when determining what should be ...

Discover More

An Average that Excludes Zero Values

Excel allows you to use functions and formulas to analyze your data. One way you can analyze your data is to use the ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.


If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 4 + 4?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)

This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.